Best credit cards for shopping in 2020

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No matter the season, a credit card that earns you rewards for your shopping can lighten the load of your spending. What’s more, rewards cards for shopping typically offer perks like security and purchase protection in case of loss, damage or theft.

Here’s a look at the best credit cards for online shopping, grocery shopping, purchase protection and department stores so that you can choose the best card for your spending.

Best for online shopping

Reap rewards: Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card

Rewards:

  • 3 percent cash back in the category of your choice: Gas, online shopping, dining, travel, drug stores or home improvement/furnishings
  • 2 percent cash back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs ($2,500 combined limit on 2% and 3% categories each quarter)
  • 1 percent back on everything else

Welcome bonus: $200 in online cash rewards after you make $1,000 in purchases during the first 90 days of account opening

Annual fee: $0

Editor’s take: The Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card is Bankrate’s top pick for online shopping as the card dedicates a whole category to it. You’ll earn 3 percent cash back on your category of choice, one being online shopping, with a total of six categories to choose from. Keep in mind there’s a $2,500 quarterly cap on the 2 and 3 percent categories combined.

The Bank of America Cash Rewards doesn’t charge an annual fee, and the $200 cash rewards bonus (earned after you spend $1,000 during your first 90 days of account opening) is pretty significant compared to other mid-tier cash back cards.

Earn as you pay: Citi® Double Cash Card

Rewards:

  • Unlimited 1 percent cash back when you buy and an additional 1 percent as you pay for your purchases

Welcome bonus: N/A

Annual fee: $0

Editor’s take: Need a little help making sure you pay off your online purchases each month? The Citi® Double Cash Card should probably be your pick. For no annual fee, the card earns you an unlimited 1 percent cash back on every purchase no matter what and an additional 1 percent for your purchases when you pay them off each month.

If you already have credit card debt from shopping, the Citi Double Cash can double as a balance transfer card with its 18-month zero percent introductory APR on balance transfers (13.99 percent — 23.99 percent variable APR after that). To take advantage of this offer, you must transfer your balance within four months from account opening. (There’s also a balance transfer fee of $5 or 3 percent, whichever is greater).

Best grocery shopping

Overall rewards: Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

Rewards:

  • 6 percent cash back at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 in purchases per year, then 1 percent)
  • 6 percent back on select U.S. streaming services
  • 3 percent back on transit purchases
  • 3 percent back at U.S. gas stations
  • 1 percent on all other purchases

Welcome bonus: $250 statement credit after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months of card membership

Annual fee: $95

Editor’s take: If earning rewards on grocery store purchases is your biggest goal for your credit card, it’s hard to beat the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express. For a $95 annual fee, the card offers a pretty solid reward structure: Earn 6 percent cash back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 in purchases each year. After you hit that cap, you’ll earn 1 percent back on your purchases.

Should your family spend more than $6,000 a year (or $500 a month) on groceries, you may be better off with a flat-rate grocery store credit card like the next option in our lineup.

Feed the foodie: Capital One® SavorOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card

Rewards:

  • 3 percent cash back on dining and entertainment
  • 2 percent back at grocery stores
  • 1 percent on all other purchases

Welcome bonus: $150 cash bonus when you spend $500 within the first 3 months from account opening

Annual fee: $0

Editor’s take: The Capital One® SavorOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card is the perfect choice for those who 1) want to earn cash back rewards on grocery store purchases and 2) spend a notable amount on dining out.

The SavorOne offers similar cash back rewards rate as its sister card, the Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card, but without the $95 annual fee (waived the first year). You’ll earn an unlimited 2 percent cash back at grocery stores — perfect for households that prefer a no-hassle rewards structure. You also get 3 percent back on dining and entertainment, like eating at restaurants, ordering fast food and seeing a movie.

Best for purchase protections

Everyday spenders: Chase Freedom Unlimited®

Rewards:

  • 5 percent cash back on every purchase

Welcome bonus: $200 cash bonus when you spend $500 on your card within three months of account opening

Annual fee: $0

Editor’s take: The Chase Freedom Unlimited® is one of the best flat-rate cash back credit cards on the market, but in terms of shopping, you’ll get great use out of the card’s purchase protection.

Purchases made with your card are covered against damage, loss or theft for the first 120 days. You’re protected for up to $500 per claim and $50,000 per account. To qualify for the protection, you must notify Chase within 90 days of the incident; for stolen items, it’s required that you file a police report within 48 hours of the theft.

Chase also extends the U.S. manufacturer’s warranty by one extra year on eligible purchases made with your card. The original warranty must be three years or less, and your coverage extends up to $10,000 per claim and a maximum or $50,000 per account.

Globetrotters with a shopping habit: Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Rewards:

  • 3X points on travel worldwide (immediately after earning your $300 travel credit)
  • 3X points on dining at restaurants worldwide
  • 1X points on all other purchases

Welcome bonus: 50,000 bonus points when you spend $4,000 in the first three months of account opening (equal to $750 when redeemed for travel)

Annual fee: $550 annual fee

Editor’s take: If you’re already in the market for a luxury travel credit card, but also seek first-rate purchase protections, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® is worth looking at. Similar to the Freedom Unlimited, the Sapphire Reserve covers purchases made with the card for the first 120 days in case of loss, damage or theft.

Return protection, however, is unique to the Sapphire Reserve. If you make a purchase with your card that — within 90 days — isn’t available for return, Chase will cover you for up to $500 per item and $1,000 per year.

It’s important to keep in mind the Sapphire Reserve doesn’t earn you 3X or 2X points on shopping but can be a great resource for covering your purchases.

Best for department stores

Rotating categories: U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card

Rewards:

  • 5 percent cash back on your first $2,000 in combined eligible net purchases each quarter (choose two categories from 12)
  • Unlimited 2 percent cash back on either gas stations, grocery stores or restaurants
  • 1 percent cash back on all other eligible net purchases

Welcome bonus: $150 bonus after you apply online and spend $500 in eligible net purchases within the first 90 days of account opening

Annual fee: $0

Editor’s take: If you spend a significant portion of your monthly budget on department store purchases, the U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card can help you earn cash back rewards without the limitations of a store credit card.

The card allows you to select department stores as a category to earn 5 percent cash back in, and you can repeatedly do so each quarter. The department store category includes well-known sellers like Nordstrom, Macy’s, Kohl’s®, Saks Fifth Avenue and more.

Seeing as you can choose two categories to earn 5 percent cash back in (on up to $2,000 in combined purchases, then 1 percent), you might also consider electing “select clothing stores” as a category. This includes brands like GAP, J.Crew® and American Eagle Outfitters.

The information about the U.S. Bank Cash+ Visa Signature Card has been collected independently by Bankrate.com. The card details have not been reviewed or approved by the card issuer.

Unlimited spending: Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express

Rewards:

  • 3 percent cash back at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 in purchases annually, then 1 percent)
  • 2 percent cash back at U.S. gas stations and select U.S. department stores
  • 1 percent on all other purchases

Welcome bonus: $150 bonus when you spend $1,000 within the first three months of account opening

Annual fee: $0

Editor’s take: If you can easily spend more than $2,000 every three months on department store purchases, you may consider the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express over the U.S. Bank Cash+ Visa.

With the Blue Cash Everyday, you’ll earn an unlimited 2 percent cash back for spending at select department stores. That means there’s no cap on the amount of cash back you can earn (and for no annual fee). To learn more about what qualifies as a department store, click here.